Monday, August 25, 2008

The Cowboy's Favorite Thing That I Cook for Him. Besides Spaghetti. And Lasagna.

And homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. But this is definitely in the top 5. Whenever I ask him what he wants me to make him for dinner, he usually answers "Hebrew Meatballs". So I made them last night for him, and now I will share them with you.

I found this recipe in a magazine a couple of years ago. I'm fairly certain it was the Rachael Ray magazine, and I'm not trying to steal her recipe, so if you want to you can probably go look it up on her website. Also, never fear, I'm not going to talk like Rachael Ray for this blog post. I considered it, but even that would get on my last good nerve.

Anyway, the recipe was originally called "Hungarian Meatball Stew". In my house, it's Hebrew Meatballs. Why? Because one time the Cowboy couldn't remember Hungarian, so he called it Hebrew. And it stuck. A few months after that, I was looking for the recipe online, because I'd lost it, and I was typing in Hebrew Meatball Stew and cursing Rachael Ray and her entire family when I couldn't find it. And then I remembered that it was actually Hungarian Meatball Stew, and I laughed. Oh, how I laughed. Stupid Rachael Ray.

(PS - if you like Rachael Ray, or if you are Rachael Ray, then I am sorry for calling her/you stupid. I used to be a big fan myself, but now she's everywhere and I find her to be quite annoying. Thank you.)

Moving along....let's begin.

The Ingrediments: 1.5 lbs ground beef (I used ground round, you use whatever tickles your pickle), eggs, breadcrumbs (I used the Italian Seasoned, you use whatever floats your boat), carrots, celery, onion, flour, paprika, beef broth, egg noodles, olive oil, salt and pepper.

The How-To: First, pour yourself a glass of wine.

Drink. Ahhhhh. Now you can start cooking.

In a large bowl, combine the meat, 1 egg, 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.

Listen up people. I'm not one for measuring. Sometimes I have to add an extra egg, or more breadcrumbs to get the consistency I want. But you will know if it's too dry or too wet, and you can add more egg or breadcrumbs accordingly. Form into meatballs, a little smaller than a golf ball. Ping pong ball sized perhaps? Sure, there you go.. Also, remember to take your rings off when working with the meats. You don't want to get meats in your rings. See mine up there in the left hand corner?

This dog is my constant kitchen companion. That tongue is ready to catch any bits of meat that may go flying accidentally. She is always alert.

In a large skillet, drizzle a little bit of the EVOO (HA! Just kidding, just had to slip one in there). I mean, the Olive Oil, and I don't care if you use Extra Virgin or not. Use whatever gets your goose. But just drizzle a little bit, since the meats will give off some fat (unless you use the really lean stuff). Place the meatballs in and cook until no longer pink.

** Important Meatball Cooking Notes ** You don't have to cook the meatballs all the way through, you will get a chance to finish cooking them later. Also, you don't want to crowd the pan with the meatballs. See how they're nice and spaced out up there? That's what you want. Also, if you have a Cowboy at home, get him to help cook the meatballs. That's what they're there for.

While the Cowboy cooked the balls of meats, I chopped the veggies.

Mom? Are you reading this? Turn away from the computer. Turn away, I say. What you are about to see may disturb you greatly. You've been warned. Listen, when I was like 10, it just so happens that several times (probably like 3) I almost chopped my fingers off cutting up carrots. This was in the days before you could buy pre-shredded carrots, or baby carrots. You had to get them whole and peel them and chop them. After you got done walking to school uphill in the snow. Both ways. And so, I was cutting up some carrots and so what? I almost sliced off my fingers. So what, I had to go to the emergency room and get stitches. So what I still have a scar of my index finger that gets numb if it rains. So what I promised my mother I would never again chop up another carrot so long as I live.

So what. Chopped carrots are essential to this recipe, and The Cowboy was busy cooking the meats, so someone had to chop those carrots and Sam doesn't have opposable thumbs, so the task was left to me. I still have all ten digits.

So I used 3 carrots. And then I chopped up some celery. (Mom, you can look again, it's ok.)I like to use the inner celery stalks, the ones that are a little smaller, lighter and more tender. And they usually have some leaf action up there at the top. Those leaves...oh my goodness they have so much flavor. So I chopped up about the equivalent amount of celery to carrots. I told you, I'm not one for measuring. It was probably about 3-4 of those little ones. With the leaves. I'm telling you, those leaves are money.

And then cut up an onion and throw that into the mix too. I used a yellow onion, medium size.

It's a potpourri of veggies. This process usually doesn't take as long as cooking the meats, so this is the perfect opportunity to pour yourself another glass of wine.

Hey speaking of wine, check out these candles that The Cowboy's parents bought me for Christmas.

Do you think it's bad that even my probable future in-laws know I have a drinking problem? Something to think about over another glass, I say.

Lalala, Cowboy is still cooking those balls. I'm telling you, it takes a little while since you have to space them out and can't cook them all at once. I got a little bored waiting.

So I watched Brent play Rock Band for awhile. He's really good.

And I played with Aggie a little bit. I tell you what, if ever there was a human being who loved a dog more than I love this dog, well then,.....uh.....I don't know, but what I'm trying to say is, I love this dog, ok?

Whoops! How'd that get in here?

Oh good. The meatballs are done. Note that the Cowboy put them on a plate lined with several sheets of paper towels to drain them.

Now, toss the veggies in the same pan with all the leftover oil and browned bits.

Stir em around, make sure you coat them real good with all that fat. Let them cook for a couple-five minutes. Just to soften them a bit. Until that onion is good and translucent. Stir em up every so often.
To the vegetables add 2 tablespoons of flour, and 2 tablespoons of paprika. The flour thickens the sauce, and the paprika flavors it. You need equal amounts. Stir it up, coat the veggies and let it cook for a minute or so. Just so that the flour kind of cooks down and you don't have big clumps in there.

Then turn up the heat, and add some beef broth. You need about 2 - 2 and a quarter cups of liquid. I usually use 1 can of beef broth, which is just shy of 2 cups, and then stir it and see where I am. Once the sauce starts boiling, it will thicken up and if it's too thick, I throw in some water. Or more beef broth, if you have it. Or maybe even some wine. By this point, I'm throwing wine around everywhere anyway.

I'm just kidding. I wouldn't want to waste good wine by throwing it.

So yeah, wait for the sauce to thicken up and boil, and then add your balls back in.

And continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes, depending on how much more you need to cook the meats. See all that splatter on my stove? Don't judge me! I cleaned it up after. There was a lot of sauce in that pan.

In the meantime, I cooked up a pot of egg noodles. Because that's what we like to serve it with, but I guess you could do rice or even potatoes. But let me tell you what, the egg noodles are wonderful. Mmmm.

I also serve it with one of The Cowboy's most favorite items: The Pillsbury Crescent Roll. I get the low fat kind, shhhhhhh. He can't tell the difference, and neither can I.

Hebrew Meatballs are gooooood. And they're even better the next day for lunch. Well, maybe not better, but definitely just as good. Make some! Your tummy will thank you, and then you can thank me. And in advance, I will say, You're Welcome!


Bean Counting Knitter said...

YUM! I have to make that soon. Hungry now. Must go eat lunch! :-)

Suna said...

That looks delicious. I know my family would love it. See, you are teaching old people recipes.

You are also one funny writer.

Anonymous said...

Wow - thanks for sharing the recipe - I'll definitely be trying this! And your labrador looks just like ours - and just as keen to get hold of any scraps!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, your recipe layout looks familar..looks like something out to PW!


Anonymous said...

I just read your blog and I must say, I really, really needed that.

Additionally, I see you used the word potpourri for your veggie blend.

Here’s some Madchef trivia. If it were Celery, carrots and onions (referred to by the Madchef as The Holy Trinity of Cooking) then it would have the fancy, yet similar name of Mirepoix. (I think that is right). A friend here at work talks to me about it and now when we end emails we say MIREPOIX, similar to our REPORT THAT. I think that is what Mirepoix means, now I forget….damn. Anyway, Madchef referred to it as the Trinity, so I say God Bless you and your Hebrew Meatballs.

Caps said...

Well DUH.

Ms. M said...

I have those same wine glasses! lol but SOMEONE, broke one..

noble pig said...

This was funny and I love the way you start cooking with wine! Yahoo!

This looks amazing.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

Now I am hungry!! That looks good and I am totally envious of your cooking (and knitting) skills. My ability to cook ends at the microwave.